10 Ways to be Happy in the New Year (By Someone Who’s Gonna Do It…Even If It Kills Me!)

Happy 2014!  It’s going to be quite a ride!

I am approaching this year with great anticipation.  Our little family is facing some pretty interesting challenges this year.  (more on that later)  As I’ve pondered the path ahead, I’ve decided the best, most effective way to MacGuyver our way out of these challenges is to shower them with the sparkles and sunshine of optimism and see where that lands us.  Here’s a list of things I am making a greater effort to do.  I’ll tell you how it goes…

1.  Savor it all.  Isn’t it amazing how kids are full of wonder?  I suspect it is because they haven’t learned to be rushed yet so they take the time to savor everything.  They actually stop and smell the roses, squat down to observe the ants and will even climb a flight of stairs just to see where it goes.  When is the last time you did that?

2.  Never look at anyone else as competition.  Unless, of course, you’re about to arm wrestle them.  In that case, I highly suggest you try playing footsies with them while you’re doing it because how can you be mad at someone getting fresh with you?

Then again, it does happen to be a World Cup year.  Pick your team, talk your trash, just don’t permanently maim anyone.

3.  Don’t allow yourself to be ruled by jealousy.  It is the Black Hole of emotions.  Think about it.  It takes gobs of energy to feed it and it still demands more.

Here’s an idea:  If you find the Green Eyed Monster clawing its way into your soul, consider why you’re jealous.  It usually has something to do with good fortune and blessings coming to others.  Chances are, that abundance came with a price, often times, hard work and sacrifice.  Let that inspire you to step up your game.  Good things will come your way too…see #4.

4.  Have faith.  For us prayerful folk, this is something that comes with the territory.  But I’m not just talking about faith in Divinity.  I’m also talking about having faith in others or powers greater than your own.  We all have those craptastic days when all the world is full of suck.  Generally, by the end of that kind of night, we feel most alone.  BUT the night ends and a new day always comes.  That’s the amazing thing about days.  They are only 24 hours long.  Of course there are times when our problems won’t fix themselves within that convenient time frame.  However it is a fresh start..even if only means our respectable daily caloric intake of chocolate is reset at zero.

5.  Don’t make everything about food and/or body weight.  That wastes way too much time.  And if you’re like me, doing that just makes me want to eat more, take my bra off, pull on a pair of sweats, and scarf down a box of ice cream and watch reruns all night until I pass out and get landed with a food hangover.

6.  Be Kind….like kinder than necessary.  As a recovering wet noodle, I can attest that this is a tight-rope type of balance.  Here’s an amazing secret about kindness though:  you don’t have to allow yourself to be taken advantage to be kind to others.  AND while kindness can oft times be misunderstood as weakness, it is actually a super power in disguise.

7.  Dream Big.  Always.  Every year.  My big dream this year:  pulling my kids out of school for three months, flying them to Europe and having a study-abroad on World War II history.  By myself.  (don’t worry, once we get there we will have chaperones).  I don’t quite know how we are going to do it but I’m determined.

8.  Start doing things you stopped doing when you got too busy to do them.  Start french kissing your spouse again, wake up early enough to meditate, stop paraphrasing the dialogue in that seemingly endless story book your kids always want you to read, watch your child fall asleep while you rub their back, play in the snow, read a book on a bench.

9.  Let the people closest to you see your fun side…not just your comfortable side.

A couple of weeks ago, my nieces and nephews revealed a tidbit about me their father, my little brother, revealed to them.  I have a very special mutant power.  I can burp just about anyone under the table.  In the last 15 years, I kinda forgot, on purpose, that I could do that.  My kids have been begging me to prove it for days.

I finally did.

I wish I had a camera to record the utter disgust and amazement followed by the uproarious laughter that came afterward.  My superhero status will now stay intact a little longer.

10.  Actively look for ways to serve others.

For the year of 2013, our family had the goal of maintaining a ‘service journal’.  The challenge was to serve each member of our family at least once a week and record it in their book.

One thing I learned:  Apparently, I’m a slob.  Not a week went by without someone adding record of making my bed, putting my shoes away or cleaning up my room.

The other, way better thing: Serving others changes a person. It generally doesn’t happen all at once, but those little things can change the course of a relationship.

So folks, Happy New Year indeed!  Let’s make this a good one.  Now go give someone a great big one right on the kisser but before you go, how are you going to make this one good?


About T.D.

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my corner of the blogosphere. I hope you like it here. This blog is where I ramble about the hats I wear (wife, mother, author, educator, etc) and everything in between. A wise man once said 'Happiness is a habit; cultivate it'. Here on this blog, I intend to do just that.
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